Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Govt’s illegal logging target ‘irrational’: Activists

Govt’s illegal logging target ‘irrational’: Activists

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 01/20/2010

Green groups criticized the government’s ambitious target to limit illegal logging to 1 hectare per province annually in line with the administration’s plan to mitigate climate change.

Activists from Greenomics Indonesia and Institute Indonesia Hijau said the target did not make sense as long-standing snags from poor forest management to a lack of enforcement were still in place.

“The figure is irrational. It is a lie,” executive director of Greenomics, Elfian Effendi told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

“The government must revise it.”

The Forestry Ministry’s program to mitigate climate change put combating illegal logging as one alternative to meet the government’s target to reduce 26 percent of the country’s emissions by 2020.

The forestry sector was expected to contribute 14 percent to the target, which was announced by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the country’s commitment to tackle climate change.

Data from the ministry said illegal logging was expected to reach only 488 cases from 2010 to 2020 with the total volume of illegal timber of 17,226 cubic meters.

The ministry predicted that there would be 88 cases of illegal logging this year compared to 104 in 2009.

In 2020, there would only be 17 illegal logging cases with 594 cubic meters of illegal timber.

The Greenomics’ assessment of the ministry’s data showed the illegal logging would take place only in 1 hectare per province per year.

Elfian said predictions showed the ministry’s lack of accurate data concerning the country’s forests.

Director of Institute Indonesia Hijau, Chalid Muhammad agreed the target did not make sense since demand for timber and timber products, both domestically and internationally, remained uncontrolled.

“It is just a ‘green wash’ campaign from the government to show that they are trying to cut emissions.”

Chalid said illegal logging remained high in the country due to the lack of law enforcement and rampant corrupt practices.

He said the government should be encouraged to stop converting forests if it wanted to meet the emissions cut target.

“The government must impose a logging moratorium per island to make them easily monitor illegal logging cases.”

Indonesia has 120 million hectares of rainforests but the deforestation rate remained high with more than 1 million hectares per year thanks to rampant illegal logging and forest fires.

Indonesia has said it would go forward to stop deforestation to cut emissions to get financial assistance through the carbon-trading scheme.

The reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scheme would allow forestry nations like Indonesia to harvest dollars from forest protection programs.

A report from Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has warned that the REDD scheme would only succeed if corruption, financial management capacity and transparency for financial transfer were addressed.

It said many of the countries with the most remaining forests were also those with the weakest governance structures to control corruption.

“Our report underlines that we should be paying increased attention to the measurements, reporting and verification of REDD-related financial flows,” Cifor director Frances Seymour said.